Clarke's

122 Kensington Church Street , London, W8 4BH

Clarke's

SquareMeal Review of Clarke's

A grown-up restaurant in every sense of the word, Sally Clarke’s eponymous eatery has been a fixture hereabouts for almost 35 years, yet there’s no chance of it showing its age. The menu has an enduring simplicity, with seasonal dishes showcasing first-class ingredients – as in a starter of Dorset crab with peppery watercress and new season’s peas and broad beans. Clarke’s early penchant for Californian chargrilling has given way to a fondness for sprightly Mediterranean flavours: leg and saddle of lamb come with raisins and pine nuts, while Cornish turbot is roasted on the bone with a sauce of Prosecco, chives and dill. To finish, there are gloriously unassuming desserts such as soft vanilla meringue with peaches and elderflower cream. Eating from the carte isn’t cheap, but Sally’s legendary set menu is still a bargain and the well-rounded wine list offers rich pickings by the glass.


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8.2

Food & Drink: 8.7

Service: 8.2

Atmosphere: 7.7

Value: 7.8

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 3.0

Sarah G. gold reviewer 20 October 2017

Cannot believe this restaurant has been in existence for 33 years, and I have never been. What an absolute delight, everything is superb, from the welcome on arrival, the service and the exceptional food. It will not take me 33 years to return.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Brian J. 27 March 2014

I've been to Clarke's three times recently – the food, service and ambience have been consistently good each time. But each time my booking via Square Meal has been lost – causing some embarrassment. I've always been found a table but when my guest arrived before me to be told my booking didn't exist…well, that just was embarrassing. I would certainly recommend Clarke's – but suggest you book your table direct with the restaurant.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 3.0

Julia A. 01 October 2012

I dined at Clarke's on a recent busy evening and was quite disappointed. I go to Clarke's every time my mother comes to town as it is one of her favourite restaurants. We were given a table downstairs, at the bottom of the stairs, facing the kitchen and in front of the (drafty) emergency exit. We did ask to change but were offered to squeeze into a deuce near the door (notwithstanding that at the time of arrival there were a number of empty tables, implying that it is necessary to specifically request upstairs when booking). All evening we were treated to the flip flap of shoes of the stressed servers going up and down the wood stairs and fast walking across the tiled floor – creating a tense and noisy environment. The lighting downstairs is terrible (on the bright side), which doesn't help what was an already clearly stressed atmosphere. And I think it was one of the fastest meals I've had in London. When my mother ordered desert, the server went to the kitchen and came straight back with the desert, no more than 45 seconds later. We had finished our apperitif and three courses in an hour. The food was good, but none of us derived any pleasure from our meal. After being a semi-regular regular, I would hesitate to return for another perfunctory experience.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 16 May 2012

It had been a long time since we'd been here, and it was good to return. The service was charming, and I was looked after while my companion was unavoidably very late. The food was very good, with quite a strong Italian influence. There was no problem adapting a dish to avoid allergies. A really enjoyable evening, no hesitation in recommending it, but it was strangely quiet for a Saturday dinner.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 5.0

ealingmc 14 May 2011

A welcome return to Sally Clarke's after too long away, and in the meantime we had forgotten the meaning of freshness, flavour, simplicity, and judgement all of which were in evidence from start to too soon finished. Lack of pretension, positive confidence and understanding of the restaurant's meaning, resulted in a most enjoyable evening. Wine was also splendid and good value for money at the £30 mark (the Barbera d'alba fantastically fruity and fragrant). Try the Bonny Doon desert wine – a Rousanne which was memorable and unlike most benilyn-like after dinner sweets).

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Jessica S. 23 November 2010

Clarke's is a Notting Hill institution, and deservedly so. The short menu offers much to tempt and the cooking is for the most part well judged and well executed. The focus on really fresh, seasonal ingredients which is now so fashionable has been at this restaurant's heart since it opened and this is to its credit. Dishes I have enjoyed in the past have included an outstanding rabbit with puy lentils, and lovely rib eye steak with some of the best chips I have ever eaten. I have found the food to be slightly overseasoned on the odd occasion, and I say this as someone who is unafraid of salt, but by and large it is delicious. I would liken it to the River Cafe in its style – brilliant, simple food which is ambitious yet unsullied by needless pretension and fuss. Service is excellent, the staff knowledgeable and polite and perfectly attentive. I would recommend Clarkes for lunch or dinner and it is as equally suited to business occasions as it is to social.

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